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Jude's avatar

Have you ever been away from your family for the holidays (Christmas). If so, what was it like?

Asked by Jude (32112points) November 2nd, 2010

This will be the first time in my 38 years, for me. I am going to N. Carolina with my girlfriend to visit her family (two weeks). I am really excited about it.

To be honest, Christmas, for me, at home, hasn’t been the same since my Mom died.


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19 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

Last Christmas was my first Christmas without my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and niece. My husband and son were with me. It was different and I missed the big family dinner that we always had (with aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents), but it was still nice in other ways. It was nice to have our little family.

This year, we don’t know if my husband will be back in time or not. If not, it will just be me and my son. My son and I already said we would wait to open presents until my husband got home.

I really miss the big family dinners and can’t wait to have one again sometime.

JilltheTooth's avatar

When I lived in Seattle I opted out of family Christmases and had a bunch of great holidays without them. Sometimes I’d gather masses of “waifs and strays” at my house, sometimes I’d accept invites to others’ celebrations, but it was always wonderful. (My family can be more than a bit difficult).
Have a wonderful time in NC, it’s fun to see how other people do it.

josie's avatar

When I was in the military, I spent two Christmases [sp?] a million miles from home in the creepiest place on Earth.
It was lonely (Although, truth is, there was a lot of comfort being around my comrades who were equally lonely.)
But then one day I came home.
Christmas happened again.
It was great.
In a lifetime, the idea is to have it the way you want it most of the time.
I figure it is not realistic to have it the way you want it all of the time.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Not yet. If I don’t go to family then they come to me. I’ve also been lucky in the past that the parents of my partners have included me as part of their family and it’s been our tradition to invite friends too.

Blackberry's avatar

I’ve missed numerous holidays since I’ve been in the military. Sometimes I was with my co workers, other times I was alone in my room or out to sea. This year, I’ll be with my girlfriends family.

mrentropy's avatar

This year will be the first year I’ll be totally alone for Christmas; just like my birthday it would seem.

Kayak8's avatar

The first Christmas I was away from my family was when I was 16. We lived in Japan and I was on a trip with our travel club to Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong (Chinese New Year in Hong Kong was the plan). I tried calling my family in Japan on Christmas Day and continued until the evening of the 29th when the phone was answered by an unexpected voice. It was the Japanese foreign exchange student who had lived with my family in Ohio in the mid-1960s. I asked if I could speak to my Mom and I was told that she was in the shower.

After trying for a number of days and having to find an international operator who spoke either English or Japanese, I wasn’t trying again. I told the phone that I really needed to talk to my Mom. She came to the phone and said, “I was hoping you wouldn’t call.” Now I am feeling terrific! I asked why and she told me that on Christmas Eve she had had to have my Dad admitted to the hospital. I asked why and she told me that he had a brain tumor. I was countries, and miles, and hours away. I ended up back in Japan on the 1st or 2nd of January and my Dad had surgery on the 30th of January.

I have since had other (less eventful) holidays separate from my family, but Christmas always smarts because of what happened a long time ago.

@mrentropy you should come to Ohio. You and my Mom and I can hang out (amazingly, we still find ways to have a good time on Christmas).

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It is understandable how you feel. When we lost Dad in ‘92, most of us dreaded Christmas as he pretty much orchestrated the activities. It took a couple of years before we settled into a new routine run by our sister. She passed away in ‘02, and it was like starting all over again. There are traditions that have survived and some that have changed as we grow older.

Two years ago, I spent my first Christmas away from the immediate family in order to be with my SO in England. It was dreaded to a certain degree, but it turned out wonderfully. Mom and I set up a time to web-cam with each other on Christmas day. A few of my family’s traditions and mementos were brought with me. We also created a few of our own, which were carried out last year.

As for you, @mama_cakes, it is admirable to be willing to stretch and break away from your family for a new experience. If your friend’s family is anything like mine, be prepared to observe from afar while they swing into their traditional groove. It has no reflection upon you.

YARNLADY's avatar

Being away from family and friends for the first time can be sad, but it can also be a time to rejoice within yourself for all the things you can celebrate all by yourself.

flo's avatar

Spending it with my best friend and her family was a nice change experience.

TheHornAndBeek's avatar

The first Christmas after my parents split I was put in a position of having to choose which one of them I would spend it with. I ended up leaving town to celebrate the girl I was dating at the time and her family. They were amazing and made me feel right at home. My family was not entirely thrilled though, but they eventually understood.

Aethelwine's avatar

When I was 19 I was going to school 2000 miles away from family. All my friends had left to visit their families for the holidays. I did have one friend that visited me for about an hour, but other than that, I was literally alone for the holiday. It was a terrible feeling. One I’ll never forget.

Have fun with your girlfriend and her family! It will be a new and hopefully exciting experience for you. :)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Yes! I f’n loved it! XD

JLeslie's avatar

Well, Christmas day was pretty much the most boring day of the year for me growing up. My family does mot celebrate Christmas, school was closed, and everyone is with their families. For Chanukah we did not do a big deal celebration, we just lit the candles, when I was very little we received gifts and I can remember a couple of years when I was very little that extended family actually got together. The one holiday my extended family always came together for was Passover, and I do miss it, but that ended when I went away to college, and now my grandma has passed away, and she was the one who always hosted it. The good part about not growing up with the “magic” of Christmas, is I don’t feel depressed or dissappointed during the holidays like so many of my friends.

Now that I am married we usually spend Christmas with my husband’s family, and honestly it doesn’t matter much to me what time of year we see them. Not to mention it can cost me double to be with them on Christmas. I know that sounds awful. Usually, my husband has enough days off, that we can find a reasonable flight, but really, sometimes, we could see them twice for what thanksgiving or Christmas travel is once. The practical part of me thinks it is nice to be together more often, than on a particular day. Not to mention they are in FL, and honestly I would rather visit in freezing cold late January or February. But, practicality doesn’t always win out.

perg's avatar

I have spent many Christmases “alone” – that is, not with my family – due to work. And yes, the holidays are very different since my dad died but also as all my siblings have grown up, had their own families and elected to stay in their own homes. I’m the only one without a spouse and/or children, so it seems folks expect that I will want to go to their houses for the holidays. The last two years, I went to my mom’s in part because no one else was going except my sister who lives in the same town. This year, at her request, I’m taking her to my brother’s. And I’ve done the “orphans” dinner, too. Honestly, I kind of prefer staying home by myself. I like my holidays quiet and reflective.

@mama_cakes I’d invite you to call me while you’re here, but I’ll be one state north. Next time…

CaptainHarley's avatar

Most assuredly. I spend two Christmases in Vietnam when I was younger. When I was 53, I spent three months in the US Army hospital at Fort Bragg, NC because of a near-fatal parachuting jump. I missed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Hospital food is still pretty bad, even for Thanksgiving!

Aethelwine's avatar

@CaptainHarley I swear I’m the only person that doesn’t mind hospital food. I was sad to leave the hospital after my c-section with my firstborn. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or the drugs, plus the fact that it was only a few days of the stuff, not three months. Who knows. lol

CaptainHarley's avatar


LMAO! Ewwwwww! ; )

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, with a host family in Sarasota, FL in 1988.

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